Social media expert says LinkedIn Groups is an ideal place to boost referrals, especially for virtual office NYC attorneys.
Over the past few months at Law Firm Suites we have been very busy producing content that, we hope, self-employed attorneys will find valuable. Of course, there’s no point in producing content if no one sees it…
On the suggestion of one our marketing consultants (and despite our reluctance to use social media as a business development tool), we started to post our content across several social media platforms. Amazingly, more and more lawyers were finding our content.
LinkedIn, and in particular, their Groups was far-and-wide the best source of new readers. In fact, in the last month alone, increased readership has led to a direct increase in leads, and at least two new virtual office NYC clients.
By coincidence (or fate), we stumbled across a great video blog post on LawMarketing.com that suggests LinkedIn Groups are also a great way to generate referrals for a law practice. The video is part of a video series in which Cindy Greenway, LawMarketing’s Editor in Chief, interviews industry experts on marketing through social media.
This interview featured Chris Dreyer, social meeting marketing expert with of AttorneyRankings.org.
Spend 15 minutes every day checking LinkedIn for opportunities to connect.
The great thing about using LinkedIn is that you don’t have to leave your office to network, and it doesn’t take very much time to see results. Chris recommends spending 15 minutes every day on LinkedIn.
During this time, you should check for new connections, alerts, and opportunities. Chris suggests that you make sure your profile is complete and accurate, and clearly highlights your practice areas. This way, new connections will know what sort of referrals they can send your way.
How LinkedIn Groups lead to more referrals
Groups are LinkedIn’s version of a message board around a certain theme. Attorneys should think of them like a Bar association committee for a particular practice area. Better yet, think of it like an industry association committee interested in a pressing topic.
Like in-person committees, Groups are great for networking because you can send a message to anyone in the group without having to be connected first. In this way, groups help introduce you to professionals in your field who may be able to offer referrals.
According to Chris, if you’re a criminal defense attorney who specializes in DUI cases, you can recommend any personal injury cases that come your way to personal injury lawyers you’ve met within a LinkedIn group. In turn, it’s likely that you will begin receiving DUI referrals from those same lawyers.
Of course, the same rules apply online as they do off: the best way to get referrals is to first give good referrals.
LinkedIn Groups are ideal for virtual office NYC attorneys.
According to Chris, Groups can be an excellent networking opportunity for attorneys with virtual office NYC rentals. Within the bounds of the rules of ethics, attorneys with virtual office NYC rentals are typically open to taking on cases that aren’t based on geographical proximity. Plus attorneys with Manhattan virtual law office space are already doing much of their work in an online space. Says Chris, “this makes LinkedIn groups your best way to give and receive referrals.”
Introduce yourself and take part in discussions.
To introduce yourself to a new group, Chris recommends initiating and joining conversations in your fields of specialty. You wouldn’t attend a local networking meeting just to sit in the corner without taking part in the conversations around you, right? The same theory applies online. Don’t join a LinkedIn group without also taking part in the conversations of its members.
Start a conversation of your own and respond to others’ comments. Read the message threads. If you think another lawyer made a great point, then say so. That’s how connections are formed.
Start a LinkedIn Group.
Cindy Greenway recommends starting your own group on LinkedIn. Chris Dryer agrees and adds, “When you create a LinkedIn group, you’re automatically seen as an authority, as a leader of this particular topic, just by starting the group.” As the leader of a LinkedIn group, you are the natural authority in your chosen specialty, the lawyer with whom the members of your group will want to build a connection.
So get out there and make yourself available for conversation! Check your LinkedIn account daily and reach out to those around you. Remember, even though it’s a virtual forum, the lawyers you encounter are there to connect, just like you!
“Hang out” where your prospective clients will be.
This all being said, a key point that Chris missed was that, if you are going to use Groups as a marketing tool, make sure you are hanging out in Groups where your prospective clients will be hanging out. Using the Bar association analogy, above, joining a Group that is focused on your practice area may be like joining a Bar association committee for a particular practice discipline. Chances are you will be networking mostly with other lawyers competing for the same type of business.
This is fine if you are looking to network with other attorneys so you can get practice issues answered if you require it, but it will likely yield little business.
Instead, try to select Groups that are either more similar to industry association committees that will be attended mostly by potential clients, or in practice disciplines that that are frequently in a position to send business to yours. For example, if you are a personal injury attorney, join a Group about workers’ comp.
About Marketing Mondays
Marketing Mondays is a weekly blog series on Law Firm Suites’ Community Counsel blog aimed at helping solo and small firm attorneys attract and retain new clients. It will focus on real-world marketing strategies that have been executed successfully by small firm attorneys, particularly those with virtual office NYC office rentals.